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Wild goalie Harding expected to retire: report

Tuesday, 05.12.2015 / 12:28 PM / News

Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding is expected to retire because of complications from multiple sclerosis, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Harding's three-year, $5.7 million contract expires June 30.

"I wouldn't want to speak for him, but he has bigger issues than just hockey," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher told the Tribune.

Brodeur says return to Devils 'few years' away: report

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 11:27 PM / News

Martin Brodeur does not anticipate joining the New Jersey Devils front office anytime soon, the former goaltender told Monday.

The Devils hired Ray Shero to replace Lou Lamoriello as general manager last week and Brodeur said he believes the organization is heading in a different direction.

"Especially with the change [the Devils] made, I think it's a great opportunity for me to take a step back and go somewhere -- or stay somewhere -- that I'll be able to learn and do things I want to do and try to learn as much as possible and who knows what the future [holds]," Brodeur told writer Tom Gulitti.

Rangers-Capitals Game 7 by the numbers

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 7:21 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals need a seventh game.

This Eastern Conference Second Round series is the fifth time the Rangers and Capitals have played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the past seven seasons; four of them have required a Game 7.

The numbers suggest this deciding game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) will be another close one. They also tell the story of how close these playoff series have been.

Here are some numbers that particularly stand out:

Preview: Blackhawks, Ducks enter WCF at top of game

The Chicago Blackhawks are back in the Western Conference Final for the fifth time in seven seasons. The Anaheim Ducks have reached the third round for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.

The Ducks needed nine games to get by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and the Calgary Flames in the second; the Blackhawks needed 10, six games to defeat the Nashville Predators in the first round and a sweep of the Minnesota Wild in the second.

They are led by their top-line center and captain, Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks. Each can produce on offense but is more comfortable being a versatile leader who can excel in all phases of the game.

Rangers, Capitals meet in third Game 7 in four years

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 5:46 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals will decide their Eastern Conference Second Round series in Game 7 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m., ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA). The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference Final and face the winner of the Second Round series between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The clubs will face off in a Game 7 for the third time in four years and for the fourth time overall, each coming in the past seven seasons. Washington won the first such meeting in 2009, while the Rangers have eliminated the Capitals twice in the past three seasons (2012 and 2013).

Since their elimination by the Capitals in 2009, the Rangers have posted five consecutive Game 7 wins. Their streak is one shy of the NHL record set by the Detroit Red Wings, who won six consecutive Game 7s between 1949 and 1964, and the Boston Bruins, who captured six straight between 1983 and 1994. The Rangers also have won six consecutive Game 7s on Madison Square Garden ice, a streak dating to 1992.

Two-way game makes Saad X-factor for Blackhawks

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 5:34 PM / X-Factor

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Most teams would be thrilled with two two-way stars like Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa on the top line.

Along with Toews and Hossa, the Blackhawks also have 23-year-old Brandon Saad, who’s become a two-way force in his own right. Saad has played left wing with Toews and Hossa most of this season and parts of the past two, and has developed into a near clone of them.

Chicago has three forwards on its top line with speed, size, skill and a thirst for playing defense to get the puck back on their sticks.

Blackhawks have to 'elevate your game' vs. Ducks

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have played well enough to make it to the Western Conference Final, but they admit they need to take up another level to defeat the Anaheim Ducks.

Chicago won an up-tempo series in the first round against the Nashville Predators and a tight-checking series against the Minnesota Wild in the second round. The Blackhawks said they now expect a combination of both out of the Ducks, who eliminated the Calgary Flames in five games in that second-round series.

"We feel like if you progress in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs], you've got to elevate your game to beat teams that have got a lot of confidence and they've got to be playing the right way," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after practice Monday. "They've got a lot of things going for them. You look at the first two rounds, they played extremely well. So, we've got to raise it."

Dubnyk, Wild will try to agree on contract to stay

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 5:25 PM / News

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Goaltender Devan Dubnyk wants to remain with the Minnesota Wild, and the feeling is mutual.

Dubnyk is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He has said in the past and reiterated Monday he hopes to stay in Minnesota long term.

"There's no reason why I wouldn't want to be here; it's been a lot of fun for me and definitely the most fun I've had in my career," Dubnyk said. "I'm not going to go look elsewhere if there is no need to, and obviously that depends on what comes and how those conversations are going."

Chabot: Ducks defeated Flames sticking with plan

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 4:31 PM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Western Conference Second Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames, has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

The Anaheim Ducks have played nine games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and for nine games, Anaheim has remained consistent and stuck to its plan, according to Frederic Chabot.

It's the Ducks' ability to do just that that has led them past the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and the Calgary Flames in the second round. That same ability to not deviate from its blueprint will be key for Anaheim when it faces its most difficult test yet in the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, Chabot said.

"The toughest task for any team against Chicago is not giving up the puck and creating turnovers, and being very disciplined; getting the puck deep and playing in Chicago's zone," Chabot said. "Chicago's No. 1 weapon is its transition; they're so good at scoring off the rush. You want to stay away from that as much as possible.

"I think Anaheim can do it."

Farrish: Rangers, Capitals need focused forecheck

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 4:12 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference Second Round series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, has enlisted the help of Dave Farrish to break down the action. Farrish will be checking in throughout the series.

Farrish was an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 2005-14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He also coached 1,027 games in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Farrish, a former defenseman, played 430 games over seven seasons in the NHL.

Dave Farrish has closely watched six games between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Second Round to draw a conclusion that the team that wins Game 7 will be the one that wins the majority of the battles on the wall and doesn't crack in its structure on the forecheck.

Game 7 of the best-of-7 series is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"That's where the battles are going to be and that's where the test of wills is going to come, winning those one-on-one battles that result in a good forecheck for both teams," Farrish said. "It's going to really come down to which team is going to be able to execute that and not get caught with too many men in deep to give up those 2-on-1s or 3-on-1s going the other way. That's something I'm going to be looking for, which team cracks and gives up the offensive chances against."

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Quote of the Day

I'm going into this with an open mind. This is a very young player (23) with a tremendous, tremendous amount of upside.

— Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Emerson Etem's potential